Scientists love – should you go for it?

Many scientists spend a lot of time training and working together in the lab, usually at the expense of having time to do much else or meet other people. It is not uncommon for feelings of friendship and admiration to grow into a romantic relationship. Should people avoid it at all costs?

On the cautionary side, you might want to check the recommendations of a research article for “Moving beyond a legal-centric approach to managing workplace romances” (1). This provides many useful recommendations for those who are responsible for ensuring an appropriate work environment, including: developing and enforcing a written “romance policy”, that prohibits direct-reporting, supervisor-subordinate romances, while allowing power-balanced and indirect hierarchical relationships, and “monitoring” the workplace romances. The others might want to check what/if there is a policy in their particular place of work.
On the optimistic side, read some interesting insights into how three scientific “power couples” were able to leverage their common professional and personal interests – featured in The Scientist: “Power couples”: Three highly productive couples give advice on how to balance life at home and in the lab (2).

If you would like to see what science might have to say about love, or some practical tips (e.g., what are some great Valentine’s movies – great on a scientist budget!), check a collection of links at “Love of science meets ‘science(s) of love”

Also would you take a fun ‘love’ research field trip this week-end? Get out of the lab/office/house and go on a field trip to beat the winter blues and “take a shot at LOVE”, the work of art displayed as a sculpture, paint, poster (other format?) in many places in the world We would like to explore to see how many additional locations could we discover. Take along some people to help you with this challenging research project! Post your findings and pictures at

Happy Valentine’s Day!

  1. Pierce CA, Aguinis H, 2009, Moving beyond a legal-centric approach to managing workplace romances: organizationally sensible recommendations for HR leaders, Wiley Interscience: Human Resource Management Volume 48 (3), 447 – 464
  2. Stern, V, 2010, Power Couples, The Scientist Volume 24 (1) Page 55, 2010-01-01
  3. Love of science meets ‘science(s) of love,


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